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tv   Defense Programs Policy  CSPAN  July 13, 2017 2:53am-4:02am EDT

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bill. this is kind of a deed at donald trump, who campaigned on building a border wall with mexico and having to go pay for it -- having mexico pay for it. republicans have made the point that this is kind of a moot issue. we will have to see how does that effect have democrats approach this bill and whether they are less likely to support it, whether they start jumping ship. >> covering debate on the defense authorization in the u.s. house, connor o'brien. you can read is reporting at politico.com and also he's on twitter. thanks for joining us. >> here's some of the debate on the defense authorization bill from the house wednesday. armed services committee chair mac thornberry introduces the bill. this part of the debate is just over an hour.
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thank you. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, i am proud to bring before the house h.r. 2810, the national defense authorization act for the fiscal year 2018. it was reported favorably by the house armed services committee at 11:59 p.m. on june 28, 2017. by a vote of 60-1. that vote is an indication of the bipartisan support that exists to support our troops and to fulfill our obligations placed on us by the constitution. mr. chairman, i think the always helpful for us to remind ourselves of the authority by which we undertake our responsibilities. article 1, section 8 of the constitution says that congress has the power and the responsibility to provide and to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, to make rules for the government and regulation of land and naval
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forces, and, of course, to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers. the members of our committee and our staff take those responsibilities very seriously. this year we seek to carry them now the a world which is as dangerous and complex as any of us have ever seen. one example from the news of the day is the alarming progress north korea is making towards having an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry nuclear weapons to our homeland. now, we have, of course, a number of tools to use, including diplomacy and sanctions. but there is no substitute for military power. and i believe we must develop and deploy more of it to be ready to deal with these growing threats. and so the bill before us today substantially increases money
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for missile defense. so we are more capable of protecting our homeland against those ballistic missiles. it also increases funding for key munitions, and for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance so we can have better visibility on what the adversary is doing. it increases the end strength for the army, nate i have and the air force, just as -- the navy and the air force, just as they requested. and it funds more joint exercises with key allies in the pacific. it boosts our ship building budget, to get more ships into the water faster and also cheaper. and so just as an example, mr. chairman, each of those items is important for dealing with this growing threat coming from north korea. and we can sit here and go through a similar sort of discussion when it comes to iran, or the provocative actions of russia and china. or the terrorist organizations of various shades.
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of course we cannot guarantee that the capabilities that we will vote on in this bill will be available by the time the crisis comes. unfortunately, mr. chairman, we are still dealing with defense budgets that were cut by more than 20% at a time when the threats around the world were growing. so we can't guarantee that this capability -- these capabilities will be available when we need them. what we can guarantee is if we don't fund these things now, they will not be available when we need them. so that is the priority given to this bill. mr. chairman, exactly one month ago, on june 12, secretary mattis and chairman dunford testified before our committee. and i would like to read just one paragraph of the secretary's testimony, where he was comparing what the military was like when he left it and when he came back as secretary. secretary mattis testified, and i'll quote, four years later i
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returned to the department. and i have been shocked by what i've seen with our readiness to fight. for all the heartache caused by the loss of our troops during these wars, no enemy in the field has done more harm to the readiness of our military than sequestration. we have sustained our ability to meet america's commitments abroad, because our troops have stoically shouldered a much greater burden. , more ars later, shocked harm by sequestration than the enemies in the field, and it's only because our folks are so incredible that they have borne an increasing burden. that's what the secretary testified. mr. chairman, we have indisputably the finest military in the world. but the also indisputable that it has been severely damaged by continuing resolutions, by sequestration, and by failure of
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the executive and legislative branches to adequately support the men and women out there on the front lines. we have an urgent need to begin to repair and rebuild our military. and i also believe, mr. chairman, it is fundamentally wrong to send men and women out on dangerous missions without providing them the best equipment, in the best shape, with the best training that our country can possibly provide. this bill, if followed by matching propings, takes a significant -- appropriation, takes a significant step toward meeting that objective, to support those troops. it also makes major reforms in the way the pentagon does business. among other reforms, it enables the military to buy commercial products through online sites such as amazon, staples and granger. we require life cycle maintenance costs to be considered at the beginning of a
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program, as must intellectual property rights. to maximize competition in the maintenance and repairs. oversight into service contracts is increased and there is much more, of course, in the bill. mr. chairman, this bill is the vehicle by which we usually, for 55 years at least, fulfill our responsibilities under the constitution that i mentioned. to provide for the common defense. i believe that's the first job of the federal government. and i want to just express my appreciation to each of the members of our committee, each of them has contributed to the product before us. each of them takes their responsibilities under the constitution very seriously. no one more so than the ranking member, mr. smith of washington. we don't always agree on the judgment calls about issues, but i have no doubt that he, among all the members of the
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committee, try to do what's right for the country, and put the interests of our troops first. that's exactly the attitude that we must follow, i think, on the floor over the next three days, as we go through the amendments, which we will consider. i also want to express appreciation to the committee and personal staff who have worked on this bill. it's been a challenging year for a variety of reasons. as i started, i will finish. i am proud of this product, i hope it will gain the support of the entire house. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself five minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: i want to thank the chairman, first of all, for his hard work on this bill. and all the mens of the committee and the staff -- members of the committee and the staff. this is a bill we've passed for 55 straight years. t.s.a. long and complicated bill -- it is a long and complicated bill that sets the defense and national security policy for our country. and there is a lot of good work that has gone into this bill. again, i thank the members for doing that.
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they recognize the complex threat environment that the chairman correctly described. and we are attempting to address it as best we can in this very difficult environment. i think the thing that is most difficult, that i really want to emphasize, is what the chairman said in the middle of his remarks. that over the past six years, we have had one government shutdown, a number of continuing resolutions, several threatened government shutdowns, and the unpredictability that that has presented to the defense department. now, to be clear, it has also presented the same amount of unpredictability to the nondefense discretionary budget, that also has to deal with those challenges. but that uncertainty about our budget has made it very difficult to plan and nowhere is that more important than at the department of defense. as they try to lay out a strategy for national security, not knowing from one month to the next how much money you're going to have or what you're going to be able to spend it on is a huge problem. and i'll say a little bit more about this later. because as big of a problem as
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that is, we haven't solved it. as we debate this bill here today, we do not have a budget resolution from either the house or the senate. so this is a problem we still need to work on. . however much money we wind up spending on defense if we had a clear idea of how much money we'd have other the next few year, it would be a lot easier to plan for those contingencies. i do want to compliment the work that's been done on this bill. i focus a lot on unconventional threats. i used to chair what's now called the emerging threats committee. i want to thank congresswoman ste -- stefa nick, and others, at have focused on the agencies that do so much for foughting terrorism. i want to thank the subcommittee focusing on space, for the importance of emphasizes that.
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for a long time, our country dominated space, didn't have to worry about it. now a lot of other countries are catching up and competing with us. i think this bill reflects the importance of that. there are a lot of very solid things in this bill but i want to close by emphasizes two significant problems that we still need to address. one i mentioned already. we don't have a budget resolution this bill has $621 billion as i understand it in the base bill and another, i believe, $75 billion in the overseas contingency fund. we're spending nearly $700 billion in this bill on defense. that's a lot of money and the chairman mentioned a lot of the very necessary programs that that's going forward. however, that breaks the budget caps. in order to break the budget cap the house and the senate have to vote to break the budget caps. it's july. we haven't done that. i will emphasize that in the senate it requires 60 vote tots break the budget caps.
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so as much as i see the need in defense given the complex threat environment out there, it is very possible that $72 billion of what is in this bill is going to disappear between now and the end of this year, unless we address the broader issue of sequestration and budget caps. i'll also emphasize that addressing that issue by gutting funding for the nondefense discretionary budget and plusing up defense is not going to work. for a couple of reasons. number one a lot of the national security needs that we have come out of some of those other items. the proposal to cut the state department by 31% in a time when we face the complex threat environment that was described is ridiculous. in fact, i will quote chairman mattis as well who said if you're going to cut the state department by 30%, you better give me five more divisions because i'm going to need them. we're not going to be able to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. and also of course we have domestic needs that are very important as well.
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we're still waiting on the infrastructure package from the administration. there are a lot of needs not being met and we are not yet voting to bust the budget caps. here we have a bill that does that, but this house has to step up and take that vote if this defense authorizing bill is going to go forward. second and final point, we still don't have a national security strategy from the white house. now we have a complex threat environment, as i said more often than i meant to in the course of the last few minutes. we do. we've got russia, china, north korea, iran, a variety of terrorist threats. what we've heard in our committee from the last six months is a series of people from the pentagon coming over and saying the house is on fire. we don't have enough money to do, fill in the blank. a lot of different things. what we haven't heard is a strategy. the most disturbing conversation i had in that regard was with someone from the office of net assessment, i yelled myself an additional minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: who explained, we
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laid out a strategy in 2012 and we do not have the money to fund that strategy right now. i asked him, how short are you? how much more money do you need? he looked at me like i didn't understand what i was asking, so i sort of explained it. he didn't know. how could he not know? if you could sit there confidently and say, my gosh werg don't have enough money, we're way crazy short, of our 2012 strategy and you can't say how short you don't have a strategy. we need a strategy to make sure the money is spent wisely. i'll complose with a compliment of the chairman for something we have he has done. we should not assume that simply spending more money at the department of defense is necessarily going to make us safer. we have to make sure we spend it efficiently and effectively. i think this bill has a lot of very solid effort to try to make us do that toward acquisition reform, toward spending the money more wisely. so it's not just a matter of spend manager money. we've got to spend it smarter and confront the lack of
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strategy and we've to the government to confront the fact that we still have not resolved our budget resolution problem. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. >> i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the chairman of the subcommittee on readiness, mr. wilson of south carolina. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wilson: thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the house armed services committee, chairman mambings c thornberry, for his etermined -- narme mac thornberry for his determined work on this i want to thank my colleague and ranking subcommittee -- subcommittee ranking member congresswoman bordallo of guam for her tireless efforts in this process and thank the member os they have house armed services committee on both sides of the aisle for bipartisan input for this bill. the creation of the 2018
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national defense authorization act truly was bipartisan. mr. chairman, over the past several months, we have heard testimony from every military service branch about the urgent eed to address the readiness shortfalls. their actions were sobering. here today we have the responsibility of reducing the risk to our service members by making sure they are well trained, supported, and that the equipment they use is properly maintained and combat ready. there are numerous important readiness provisions in the authorization, including adding over $2 billion to long-neglected facility sustainment and modernization accounts. gives the department of defense more sponsible -- a efficient use of d.o.d. resources, extends multiple temporary hiring authorities to allow the department of defense to fill critical manpower gaps in particular in our defense industrial base, our depots,
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arsenals and shipyards. none of the readiness provisions are arbitrary. they are specifically targeted to stop and as much as possible reverse the decline of of the readiness of our armed forces to so we can continue to combat around the world. i strongly support this and encourage my colleagues in the house to support it as well. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. >> i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from massachusetts, ms. tsongas. the chair: the gentleman is -- the gentlelady is recognized. ms. tsongas: thank you, ranking member smith. two years ago we brought this to the house floor with broad bipartisan support and i'd like to thank chairman thornberry and ranking member smith for their work in developing this year's bill. i'd also like to thank
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congressman mike turner, chairman of the tactical air and land forces subcommittee of which i am the ranking member for his leadership and spirit of bipartisanship this year. this year's bill includes investments to fill genuine readiness needs and funding that is critical to ensuring our men and women in uniform have the best cutting edge resources and best equipment possible to keep them safe when defending our nation. i was encouraged that the bill we passed out of committee directs the defense department to provide specific updates and reports on a number of programs and platforms so that we can robustly conduct our oversight responsibility on behalf of the american people. however, as we consider the bill on the floor today and in the coming days, i remain concerned about how we fund these needs. substantial budget increases for the department of defense at the expense of other vital national programs undermines investments in our national competitiveness and the future of our country.
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and i believe makes us less secure over the long-term. providing our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to carry out their mission is one of our most solemn obligation bus we must also fund these resources responsibly in order to safeguard our economic vitality and our national security. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the chair of the subcommittee on tactical forces, mr. turner. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. turner: i rise in strong support of h.r. 2810, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2018. i have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the tactical air and land forces subcommittee and i want to thank my subcommittee's ranking member, ms. niki tsongas, for her support in the n completing the markup of the bill and the bipartisan work we've done together on the issue of sexual assault in the military. i appreciate her leadership in
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that. i stongly support this bill and can't emphasize enough chairman thornberry's steadfast leadership in raising the top line in this bill. this bill recommends $631 billion, a significant and needed increase over the original budget request that supports both the base and unfunded requirements which total over $30 billion. without chairman thornberry's leadership this number woult not be sufficient. we are presenting a budget that helps rebuild the readiness of our forces. this increased base funding will begin to rebuild full spectrum readiness for from years of deferred modernization brought on by the previous administration. within the tactical air and land forces jurisdiction this bill authorizes an additional $12 billion to address critical unfunded modernization requirements addressed by the services. it addresses current land forces include des money to additional abrams tanks and
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fighter vehicles. it addresses shortfalls and authorizes another $ billion in additional funding to secure additional f-35 strike fighters to address unfunded requirements from the air force, navy and marine corps. i'm also pleased this bill supports european defense initiative, the deterrence initiative, using oco and addressing the needs of our european allies. this bill contains language from the be heard sexual assault bill i worked with representative tsongas about and addressed in june i'm please wed continue to advance the cause of protecting service members from sexual assault. i'm also pleased that that the evans law is included in this bill which will ensure the department of defense protects against una-- against additional falls by young children. with that, i urge my colleagues to support this bill. the chair: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the ranking
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member, the gentlelady from guam, ms. bordallo. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. bordallo: thank you. i would like to commend chairman thornberry -- thornberry, ranking member smith and the committee staff who worked many long nights on the f.y. 2018 defense authorization act. while there are real questions about the top line number and i believe it would be inappropriate and reckless to have any additional funding come off the backs of nondefense spending, this is an important step forward in rebuilding our military readiness. this bill includes additional operations and maintenance funding to support more combat training center rotations and needed investment in the facilities, sustainment, restoration and modernization accounts. provide manager training opportunities and better maintenance facilities to live, work, and operate in. however, readiness cannot be bought back in a year. and these targeted investments
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must continue. furthermore the bill provides authorities to right size the billion personnel shortfalls that have stressed maintenance back logs at our ship yards and depots. it also will make more effective the department of quarterly readiness report and raise the minor military construction threshold and clarify unspecified projects to provide additional flexibility to the department. i would especially like to thank chairman thornberry for following through on his commitment last year to work with me to include my provision that would help address critical work force shortages affecting military construction and health care essential to the military buildup on gausm. i also thank our ranking member smith and readiness subcommittee chairman joe wilson for working with me on this issue and on this bill. i look forward to continuing to work together to protect the full intent of this legislation. the readiness portion of this bill also includes provisions to support ship repair in the
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western pacific as well as full funding for critical military construction projects. given our posture, our strategic needs and challenges in the region, it is essential that we continue to sufficiently resource and support an active and engaged indo-asia pacific force. i look forward to working with my threes on both sides of the aisle as this process continues. and lastly, mr. speaker, i would like to commend vicki plunkett for her over two tech kids of service in the house of representatives and 1 years on the house armed service committees and ask that my full remarks on her contributions be submitted for the record. the chair: without objection. ms. bordallo: thank you and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from alabama, mr. rogers. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. rogers: thank you. i'd like to thank my friend and colleague from tennessee, mr. jim cooper, the ranking member on our subcommittee, for being such a great partner as we work on this important bill. now i'd like to focus on some key provisions in the bill. first, space reform. this bill takes two monumental steps to reform national security space. first, the bill provides for the creation of a space corps within the air force to fix the fragmented space acquisition process. second, it provides for the establishment of a sboordnant unified command for space under u.s. strategic command, to ensure integration of command. i can't stress enough the urgent necessity of these reforms. our society and our military are enormously dependent on space. meanwhile, our adversaries continue to grow their counterspace capabilities. these adversaries have already reorganized their space forces toward the goal of neutralizing our advantage in space. multiple studies going back
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almost two decades have recommended space -- a space force to fix our space acquisition and management problems. regardless, the d.o.d. and the air force have yet to fix the problem. decision making authorities for space acquisitions remain fragmented across over 60 organizations. this bill would consolidate acquisition authority and inimprove our ability to jointly operate in space. earlier this week i returned from asia where i got to meet with our troops on the korean peninsula. i was in theater when north korea conducted their intercontinental ballistic missile. we must be vigilant when it comes to our missile defenses and this year's ndaa does that. no -- other worthy initiatives include the approximate mation of $2 billion in fund. it also accelerates our efforts to develop space capabilities. lastly, the bill supports our nuclear deterrents and includes provisions to improve the oversight of our nuclear
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command, control and communications. i urge support of this important legislation and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the ranking -- ranking member of the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, the gentleman from rhode island, mr. langevin. the chair: the gentleman is ecognized. without objection. mr. langevin: i want to thank the ranking member for yielding. mr. speaker, i'd like to begin by thanking chairman thornberry and ranking member smith and chairwoman stefanik for their collective efforts in crafting this bill that's before us this evening. i'd also like to thank the staff who worked tirelessly on this productive and forward-thinking legislation. it's an honor and a privilege to serve as a senior member of the house armed services committee, on behalf of the selfless service men and women who protect our nation every day. i'm proud of the bipartisan, very strong bipartisan effort represented by this year's ndaa.
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mr. speaker, we accomplish ever-important objectives in this bill. we enhance our deterrent capabilities in europe and support our nation's smaub are inforce. very proud of the junior class submarines we build. and we also provide strong support for the columbia class ogram that will be program that will be the ohio replacement program. we also make it clear that climate security is indeed national security. backing the department and its efforts to reduce risk and prepare for all types of threats that may come our way, even if those threats come from climate change. as ranking member of the subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, i'm particularly proud of the provisions we've included on cybersecurity, special operations, and research and development. we strengthen our cybercooperation with our partners and allies through both training and collaboration with the nato cooperative cyberdefense center of excellence. we better leverage the u.s. global engagement center to combat propaganda and
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information warfare operations conducted against america and her alyles. and we grant permanent authority for family support programs within special operations command that reflect the unique needs of these war fighters and their families. we also reinvigorate the d.o.d. scholarship program, so students are encouraged to pursue information security degrees and can come to work defending our nation from the get-go. we can have all the cyberpolicies in place that we want, but if we don't have the trained work force to execute those policies, we're going to be behind the curve and this helps to close that gap. we advance hypersonic weapons research development. especially transition efforts. we prioritize the readiness of u.s. cybercommand and our cybermission force. and we strengthen congressional oversight of sensitive cybermilitary operations and command -- cyberwarfare tools and capabilities. this approach was deliberate in nature tanned moves us closer to a military that will be able to address the variety of threats
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that we face in the 21st century. again i'd like to thank chairman thornberry and ranking member smith and chairwoman stefanik and all of my colleagues on the house armed services committee, as well as the staff, for their hard work on this very important bill. i thank all those involved and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished chair of the subcommittee on sea power and projection forces, the gentleman from virginia, mr. wittman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wittman: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in strong support of h.r. 2810rks the f.y. 2018 national defense authorization act. i continue to be surprised at some of the national security pundits who believe that a diminished force structure will improve our national security. some have questioned whether we should fully fund national defense. some have even questioned whether we should continue to expand our armed services to meet the strategic challenges posed by a rising china and
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russia, by an unpredictable north korea and a belligerent iran. mr. chairman, our time is up. the time of action is now. the focus of our nation is upon us to provide for our national security. i am pleased that we appear to have turned the tide and properly -- and are properly resourcing the requirements of our armed services and i am pleased that we are authorizing the funding to match our strategy and providing what our combatant commanders need to win any future conflicts. i am pleased that we have acknowledged the importance of our service members and the hardships that they endure so that we can enjoy our free and democratic society. in reference to the sea power projection forces subcommittee, i believe that we have reversed a trend toward as diminishing navy and are tracking toward a strengthened 355-ship fleet. the bill expands on the eight ships requested by the administration and adds an additional five ships. the bill also recommends additional advanced procurement for aircraft carriers and attack
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submarines, while fully funding the columbia class ballistic missile submarine and the b-21 raider bomber programs. as to aircraft, the bill commends an expansion of kc-46-a's, and others. finally, the bill delivers the right authorities that will save the department of defense billions, yes, billions of dollars. additionally, i want to recognize our ranking member, joe courtney. he's done extraordinary work and has been a true partner in this journey and continues to work in a collaborative, bipartisan basis to deliver the best for our national security. i continue to be impressed with the results that can be achieved when a subcommittee and the full committee focuses on a common goal and works to achieve bipartisan results. i urge my colleagues to support the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2018. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield three minutes to the
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ranking member of the subcommittee on military personnel, the gentlelady from california, ms. speier. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. speier: i thank the gentleman for yielding and for his outstanding leadership and candor on our committee. i want to give a special shoutout to our chairman, mr. thornberry, who shaved an hour and a half off our deliberations a couple weeks ago by bringing us into the 21st century and laptops to look at our amendments. a great improvement. i also want to thank my chair, chairman mike hoffman -- huffman, for his leadership. we've worked well together. i look forward to continuing that relate. and also to a top notch staff. this bill includes provisions that will provide the military services flexibility to recruit and retain members of our armed services, and continues our commitment to taking care of our military families. the ndaa continues funding for d.o.d. impact aid for schools
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with large numbers of military connected families. and authorizes reimbursement up to $500 for military spouses' expenses related to obtaining professional license or certification when moving to a new state. the committee continues to provide oversight of important programs in the bill requiring reviews to ensure the morale, welfare and recreation programs are properly funded. and to require levels and the department of defense's debt collection practices are fair and do not place undue burdens on service members or their families. the bill includes the private act, which i co-sponsored with congresswoman martha mcsally, and other members of the committee, to prohibit the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images and ensure the military services have the tools to prosecute those who violate the law. the bill also provides support for victims of sexual assault by mandating training for special victims counsel, to recognize and address unique challenges
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often faced by male vic testimonies of sexual assault -- victims of sexual assault. i'm pleased the bill continues the committee's effort to assist those with posttraumatic stress disor and traumatic brain injury, as well as making sure families are educated on suicide facts that are are often associated with t.b.i. or posttraumatic stress. however, as ranking member smith has said, this ndaa fails to make the hard choices and tradeoffs that are expected of us. the ndaa goes beyond the president's request to provide $2 -- 2.4% pay raises for our service men and women, an additional cost of $200 million. an expense simply added to the top line. the ndaa also authorizes an increased end strength for the army at a cost of $4 billion, again, simply adding it to the top line. certainly our troops deserve a pay raise. but the question that must be asked is, where is the money coming from?
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and on what basis are these decisions being made? congress has not received a strategic plan from the pentagon that would inform us on how large the military needs to grow. by just adding funding to the ndaa, congress is not providing the stable, predictive funding the military needs. in order to do that, we need to address the big elephant in the room, the sequestration and budget control act caps. mr. smith: i yield the gentleman -- the gentlelady an additional 30 seconds. speier speier thank you. despite this, -- ms. speier: thank you. despite this, we were not allowed to ensure it does not expire in may of 2018. this falls short of my strong desire shared by other members of the committee to permanently fix the survivor benefit compensation. this offset amounts to a shameful tax on over 60,000 surviving spouses who are already struggling emotionally and financially. by the s.s. -- ssia extension would be an important temporary fix, congress must make a permanent fix to offset -- a
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permanent fix to the offset. we cannot continue to allow surviving military spouses to suffer from our inaction. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, i yield myself 30 seconds. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, just to make two points. number one, the president -- president barack obama was inaugurated in january of 2009. the first national security strategy he submitted was in may of 2010. a year and a half later. so i don't think it's completely unreasonable that we haven't yet gotten the national security strategy from the new administration. secondly, the pay raise for the troops is based on the statutory formula which is related to the cost of living. that's where it comes from. and it seems to me to say, no, you don't really get what the formula says you deserve is not appropriate. now the administration did not request it, and the criticism from some is that we should not
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provide it. i think if the formula's wrong we should change it. the formula says, that's how much the cost of living has gone up, we should provide. it that the point, mr. chairman, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished chair of the subcommittee on personnel, the gentleman from colorado, mr. coffman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. coffman: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 2810, the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2018. the bill contains significant policy and funding initiatives that is continue our commitment to maintain military personnel and family readiness and address issues important to our troops. the provisions contained in this bill provide our war fighters, retirees and their families the necessary pay and benefits to sustain them in today's highly stressed force. to support these efforts, this bill establishes a fully funded by law pay raise for all of our service members, overriding the president's ability to reduce
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the pay raise. after years of lower than bylaw pay race requests, it's critical we continue to give our troops and their family the pay increases they deserve. increases -- the end strengths of our active duty, national guard and reserve forces increases mission readiness while reducing the stress and strain on the force and their families. further focuses last year's management reform of the military health system to provide clear responsibility for the delivery of health care services and military medical treatment facilities, and for military medical readiness, the bill also stops all ill-considered cost-saving measures that would close several u.s. military hospitals overseas. we believe our service members and their families should continue to have the best medical care possible, wherever they serve.
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it improves response by adding a new provision specifically prohibiting nonconsensual of expanding victim counsel training to include training on the unique consequences by male and it can be appointed by a victim prior to a court martial. finally, service members returning to civilian life and their spouses are challenged -- -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. thornberry: i yield 30 seconds. mr. coffman: and rather than imposing a single federal standard, we provide a $500 reimbursement to defray these costs and we ask the states to develop common standards where possible. i want to thank ms. speier and her staff and support in this
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process. we are joined by an active and informed and dedicated group of subcommittee members. their recommendations and priorities are reflected in the national defense authorization act in 2018 and i appreciate the dedication a and hard work of the subcommittee staff. i urge my colleagues to support this. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington. mr. smith: i yield two minutes the gentlelady from california. recognize our subcommittee chairs and members in bringing this bill to the floor. as has been stated, the budget numbers we are talking about contained in the bill are aspirational. we have not passed a budget resolution and the budget control act is the law of the
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land. while it was a failing and pointing fingers does not solve the problem. we are on an uncertain and dangerous path, where we have not been honest with ourselves and where we continue to play games with our men and women serving in the military. we must recognize the only path of solving these issues is bipartisan legislation to repeal the b.c.a. continuing resolutions and unrealistic bipartisan budget amounts to malpractice. i have to say, that i was encouraged that the senate included a proposal to continue paying the widows who died in defense of that our nation. it is our fundamental responsibility. and i'm encouraged by the promise our chairman made
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regarding this issue. the issue has to be fixed and it will be. and he has said there are difficult tradeoffs that have to be made. we will have to contribute to the solutions. i'm prepared to do that. we have to hope together that we move forward and be prepared to do that. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield two minutes to the chairman, mrs. hartzler. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. hartzler: i rise in support year 2018 national defense authorization act. as members of congress, it's our responsibility to provide support to our men and uniform wlile they serve our nation. this bill takes significant steps to address our readiness
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crisis by ensuring that our troops have the resources, training and capabilities needed to face the growing threats of today. i'm proud of the provisions included in this bill to reform the foreign military sales process, provide funding to address the critical infrastructure needs and protect our nation's highly sensitive u.s. military information, information that our adverse areas are actively looking to exploit. f-18thorizes 22 additional super hornets and funds the b-21 radar to deter future aggression. i represent missouri 4th district. this bill funds programs for the b-2 spirit and authorizes phase one of a new hospital facility.
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since arisk to congress i have been fighting to fight the infrastructure needs, lake city is the source. these plants are in dire need of modernization and this bill authorizes much needed funding. thanks to the leadership of chairman thornberry, the armed services committee increases defense spending. appreciate the opportunity to talk about the bipartisan passion and i urge my colleagues o support its passage. mr. smith: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from maryland, mr. brown. mr. brown: let me start by thanking chairman thornberry and ranking member smith not only for their leadership but the bipartisan approach to the work
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of the committee and as a new member of the 115th congress, i find it very refreshing and it's no surprise that 50-plus years in a row we have passed this. the united states faces various security threats, aggression from north korea and russia and campaigns in iraq. new battlefields in cyber space and outer space. after years of sequestration, there is consensus that congress must address modernization changes facing our military. investments we made in equipping our forces. but increasing defense
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authorizations and appropriations absent a clear national security strategy will not make our country safer. we need a smart, strategic approach to national security that provides clear goals and objectives and incorporates in an all-government approach. not only increasing defense spending but ensuring spend in the state department and usaid and nondefense programs that make the world more stable and secure. we owe it to our servicemen and women to provide them the resources to accomplish their mission abroad and pursue the american dream. and that's good schools and safe neighborhoods. we cannot do one at the expense of the other. the long-term success of our country depends on that. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time.
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the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield two nutes to the chairman, ms. stefanik. ms stefanik: today, i rise in strong support of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2018 which increases readiness and those who serve our nation are fully equipped and fully supported. i'm proud of the oversight regarding stronger cyber warfare capabilities and enabling our special forces around the globe providing resources to counter rrorism and energizing programs. ur achievements in cyber security carries three broad themes. includes a bill introduced by myself and ranking member
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nching begin and they are in formed. we bolster international partnerships for cyber warfare including efforts to information warfare and third, the bill continues to build and enhance our u.s. capabilities and activities. this bill reinforces counterterrorism and unconventional warfare by fully resourcing u.s. special operation program and activities and increasing oversight of intelligence activities. i would like to thank mr. rodgers for including language. and i would like to thank mr. coffman for including portions of my bill the list of relocation burden. and before i conclude, i would
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like to thank the chairman as well as my ranking member jim lanching vin for his bipartisan energy and cooperation on all of these issues. i urge my colleagues to vote yes. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: how much time is on each side? the chair: 9 1/2 minutes. mr. smith: we are going to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i yield one minute, a valued general from nebraska, mr. bacon. mr. bacon: i rise in support of this bill. i served in the military under the past five presidents and
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witnessed the erosion of our combat edge. we out trained our competitors th a two to-one flying advantage. and it is unconscionable to send them into combat. but that's where we are at today. i was charged with preparing our forces to prevail over any adverse area. and given the damage by 22% reduction of defense funding while we are at war. this will right the ship. providing the means to build the readiness and invests in peace through strength. the constitution charges this dy to provide for the common defense. and we meet this obligation with back.18 ndaa than i yield
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mr. smith: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from texas. mr. thornberry: i yield one knight. a member, mr. mr. knight: i rise in the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2018. this is mindful dedication to our soldiers, sailors and airmen and marines. and i'm speaking on behalf of this legislation. the acquisition reforms will get answered equipment. this bill brings much needed innovation to the tax dollars and commercial businesses engage. it prifertizes oversight of service contracts. his accounts for over 50% of expenditures. and it will help secure a better
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value spent through forms. small business strile base is a critical part of procurement and unique ability to strengthen by driving innovation and competition in the marketplace. it is important we create opportunities and strengthen programs and eliminate barriers strengthen our industrial base. mr. smith: mr. courtney, you ready to go? i yield three minutes to the gentleman from from connecticut and the ranking member on the subcommittee on sea power and projection forces. mr. courtney: thank you to mr. smith for yielding and compliments and chairman thornberry and the two of you have collaborated to keep this
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undertaking on schedule. a trunk indicated schedule and you. kudo to both of and i rise in strong support of the 2018 ndaa. and i served with chairman whitman who is in his first term. but in our deliberations was the buildup of our navy fleet. in december of last year, the prior navy secretary, who served in the prior administration laid out the requirement for increasing the navy's fleet from 308 ships to 355. in january of 2015, they got us on a construction path to get us to a larger fleet. and time is of the essence in growing the navy.
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and that was why so many of us were surprised on may 23 and disappointed when the white house sent over a 308 budget. i'm proud to say that on a bipartisan basis we have done much better. . we add five additional ships in 2018 for a total of 12 to get us moving toward the larger fleet that prior administration and the new administration know we need. one area i'm particularly proud of is the area of ound undersea forces -- of our undersea forces. our panel once again led the way in forging an aggressive but realistic plan to grow our submarine fleet. to achieve this, our bill authorizes multiyear procurement authority for 13 virginia class attack submarines for the next five years. not only would this keep us at the two-year level that we've been on for the last few years, it would go even further by reaching a three-submarine build rate in the coming years.
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the sea power portion of the bill does much, much more to support a range of priorities on the seas and in the skies. far too many to itemize here today. i'm proud of the bipartisan contribution of all of our subcommittee members into the product before the house today. and again to mr. wittman for his first year as subcommittee chairman, in particular i want to highlight the work of our subcommittee staff in helping us craft a -- the bill. i'm joined by one of my staff, steven, who has been working with us and is going to be moving on to better things. i want to publicly thank him for his outstanding work in terms of helping us get to the place we are here today. in closing i would urge my colleagues to support the defense authorization bill and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield one minute to a valuable member of our committee who continues to serve our nation in the reserves. the gentleman from indiana, mr. banks. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. banks: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today to express my strong support for the fiscal year 2018 national defense
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authorization act. as the most recently deployed veteran serving in congress, serving in afghanistan, just two years -- serving in afghanistan just two years ago, i know the national security challenges facing our country firsthand. while these challenges are not easily solved, this legislation represents a significant step forward. i want to take a moment and specifically thank chairman thornberry for his leadership in a-- and assistance to myself and other freshmen members of the committee. working together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the armed services committee has crafted a bill focused on rebuilding and reforming the department of defense. by procuring what we need, fixing what we already have, and by being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars by proposing new contract audit reforms, this bill begins the hard work of getting our department back on the right track. while we cannot control the existential threats facing our nation, we must ensure that those in uniform are ready to address those threats when necessary. moreover, as this week's tragic
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c-130 accident that claimed the lives of 16 members reminded all americans -- mr. thornberry: i'm pleased to yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentleman. mr. banks: we know our service members place their lives on the line each and every day. from give our troops a well deserved raise to funding our vital missile defense programs, i believe that this legislation begins the process of rebuilding and reforming our military so we are ready for whatever comes next. with that, thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. smith: if i may inquire, i believe that the your last speaker. are you prepared to close at this point? ok. i yield myself the balance of our time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: what i really want to focus on is the budget problem. that's really underlying all of this. i think we've heard a lot of good speeches from members talking about what is in this bill. how important it is. how what's in this bill is attempting both to meet our national security threats and, as importantly, to make sure that we take care of the men and women who serve our military, who fight to protect us.
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to make sure, first of all, that they and their families are taken care of from a financial standpoint, but also to make sure that they have the equipment and training that they need to be ready to fight the fights that is we ask them to go to. i think that's one of the great challenges. is whatever it is we decide ought to be our national security strategy, i think the thing we can all agree on is that we need to make sure that we provide the training, equipment and support so that the men and women who serve in the military are ready for that fight. the worst thing we can do is create a hollow force. set up an expectation, you need to do all of this, but we're only going to train you for that. so if this other stuff comes up, you're not going to be ready. we've talked about this a lot in our committee, to make sure that we are ready for the fight that comes. that's where the budget creates a very significant problem. we've talked a lot about the budget control act. and sequestration. it's pretty clear why we had the budget control act and sequestration. i was here for it. we were days away from not raising the debt ceiling.
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basically not meeting our commitments to pay our bills. and there are those who figured that that could be a significant problem. so we made an agreement. we were going to try to get the budget under control, sequestration was put in place, with the expectation that it wouldn't be implemented because we would come to a grand bargain on revenue and spending that would get our deficit under control. well, we didn't and sequestration kicked in. but as we sit here today, even if we got rid of sequestration, even if we got rid of the budget caps, we are still $20 trillion in debt. we're going to run a $700 billion deficit. and this is projected to go nowhere but up in the years ahead. i don't believe that is sustainable. i don't think we need to balance the budget tomorrow or next year or even in the next five years. but we need to get ourselves on a sustainable path. and we flat refuse to do that. when you look at -- you don't see a lot of campaigns promising to cut specific programs or promising to raise taxes.
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i love the fact that if you poll the american people, there's a very clear consensus on what they think we ought to do about this problem. first of all, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% of them support a bald budget. now by the way -- balanced budget. now, by the way. if you ask them, here's all the places where the government spends money, what would you like to cut? the answer to that question is nothing. i mean, literally nothing. the pew research folks do a poll on this every year. and every single category, a majority of people would rather keep the money the same or increase it as opposed to decrease it. of course if you ask them what taxes they would like to increase, by and large they don't want to increase taxes. it's interesting, you can, if you can convince people that the taxes in question will not apply to them, for a brief moment they will be supportive of it. but then someone will come along and convince them that at some point it might apply to them and then they oppose it. our task is to balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting spending.
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that of course is impossible. so what we have chosen to do is put off that decision for as long as is humanly possible. and that is why we do not have a budget resolution. because any budget resolution that this body could create would fail on probably multiple fronts of what the public expects. it wouldn't balance the budget. it wouldn't cut -- it would cut spending they didn't want to cut and it would -- well, probably wouldn't raise taxes, coming from this majority. but if it did, it wouldn't be popular. we have to start having an honest conversation about the budget. we hear in the armed services committee all the time about all the needs, all shortfalls, all the critical things we need to do. and we argue about it and argue about it. but in six years, the republican majority has not put forward a plan to control mandatory spending. they say that's the problem. no plan to do that. certainly they haven't even considered the possibility of increasing revenue. if we are this serious, and we should be, about making sure that we have the funds necessary to provide an adequate national
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security, then we should stop cowering from the budget debate. personally, i'm all for raising taxes. because i see the needs that the chairman and everybody else has described. and i am actually prepared to pay for them. so we need to do that. that overarching budget problem is what has put us in this mess. as we talk about this bill, as i said, it's $72 billion over the budget caps. and unless we get a vote to lift those budget caps, which i just mentioned is politically unpopular, which is why we haven't done it for the full six months that is we have been in session this year, then that $72 billion goes away and the pentagon is back in kay ols. so, this may be a good bill -- chaos. so this may be a good bill, it may be solid, but it doesn't have the backing the budget. there are some things the department of defense could do. this is why the strategy is so important. yes, the obama administration waited until may of 2010. they didn't have six years of c.r.'s and government shutdowns and threatened shutdowns and the changing threat environment that we have. they had a reasonably consistent
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set of problems. it was a set of problems, but they had the same secretary of defense from the previous administration. they had time to look at that. we need this strategy urgently. because the big question is, are we spending the money correctly? is the department of defense spending money in the right way? do we have a strategy to figure out how we should prioritize? we don't. and with this crushing budget environment, it is absolutely critical that we do. we need to consider the possibility, for instance, that we might be spending some money shouldn't be spending. i will often ask that question of the generals who come over and tell us how short they are on everything. i'll say, where are we spending money in your opinion that we shouldn't be? they never answer the question. and you cannot tell me in a $700 billion budget, in a place as large as the pentagon, that there isn't somebody over there who knows to say, look, we shouldn't be doing this. just one suggestion. we've had the debate forever. we've had a shrinking military. yet we have maintained the same
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infrastructure. we've seen study after study from the air force and others about how much excess capacity they have. and money that could be saved from doing that. but again this year, for, i submit, political reasons, it's prohibited. so we need to get a lot smarter about how we're going to spend this money and a lot smarter about our budget, if this bill is actually going to become reality. with that i -- well, i'm out of time. so i got nothing to yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thornberry: mr. chairman, as usual, the gentleman from washington makes a number of good points. we absolutely need to have national security based on a strategy and fund that strategy. there are many of us who would argue that is not what has happened in recent years. i would just point out, it was not only president obama, but also president bush and
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president clinton. none of them provided a national security strategy in the first year that they were in office. i have tremendous confidence in secretary mattis, among others on the national security team. i believe they are looking at these issues and will provide us with a strategy. the gentleman is also absolutely correct when he points out that the defense authorization bill is only one step in the process. there are many more steps to come. i think we will have a budget on this floor to vote on shortly. i also expect that we're going to have appropriations to vote on at some point in the coming weeks. i also believe that we're going to have the opportunity to vote on dealing with the equestration caps. which by the way the administration and, i think, most of us in the house, and i presume most in the other body as well, are in favor of doing away with. because they have not been
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successful in accomplishing the goal for which they were put in place. so there are clearly many more debates to have on other days. what we have this week on the floor before us is the defense it is our obligation to authorize the things that the military needs. life-and-death things. our family goes out to the 15 marines in the sailor who lost their lives in the plane crash in mississippi just as our hearts and prayers continue for them in members of the seven sailors who lost their lives off japan a few weeks ago. this is a dangerous business
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even on routine deployments and training missions. to serveo volunteer our country and protect us deserve the very best our country can provide them. bill,s the goal of this men and women who serve us. you've heard many good things in this bill. -- the go through it the end of the day, the good and the bad and the ugly that gets put -- he bill christopher wray testified at his confirmation hearing yesterday.

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